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EPILOGUE: Assuming Control

EPILOGUE: Assuming Control [DAY 06 | 2003 hrs.]

[ Below Decks | USS Theurgy | Deck 28 ] Joint-Post by Nolan & Auctor Lucan

"I should get going, and I reckon your customers would not be pleased if they didn't get what they wanted to drink on the eve of battle," said Jien to Edena and inclined his head. "Thank you, for everything, and stay safe."

With those words, Jien Ives left Edena in the corridor as she looked at him leave. She sighed softly as part of her did miss her role as the XO. The ship was in capable hands, however, under the command of Jien and Carrigan. Yet she missed the thrill and rush of all of it. She took up the box she was carrying which contained special and unique drinks before she walked back into the lounge. Her shift was moving along slowly as she served and talked to a few members of the crew.

She couldn't tell when her combadge chirped and she tapped it "Yes?" she asked as Lucan cin Nicander's words brought her mind to a halt.

[This is Dr. Nicander. I hate to disturb you if you are already on your way, but I just wanted to make sure you hadn't forgotten about your appointment. We did say 2000 hrs, right?]

She had forgotten about her appointment with him. During the travels aboard the Theurgy, Edena had gone to Nicander on numerous occasions for check-ups and further research towards her faulty joining. It was something enthralling to the medical officer she believed, yet today she had forgotten about it entirely.

"Doctor... Sorry... It slipped my mind. I'll be there shortly." she answered him before she sighed and placed the lounge over to one of the holographic bartenders. "Contact me in case there's anything you need," she told him before she made her way over to Sickbay. She arrived about half an hour late, and she chimed the door at Lucan's office.

[ Main Sickbay | CMO Office | Deck 11 ]

"Enter!" called the Chief Medical Officer from his desk, where he rested his head in his tattooed hands.

I can no longer restrain it. My strength... it is fading. I need to give in... yet I fear who I am becoming. He raised his eyes and stood up before the sliding doors opened, yet even as he resumed the charade of lies he lived in, he knew it for certain. By the winds, I am finally losing the struggle within. Yet, be that as it may, he would not be able to continue for much longer anyway, and he still had options. One option he had not, however, was to postpone what he had to do. He had denied himself - no, the thing inside - to set the appointment a day earlier, and now, it was just one more night until they arrived at Starbase 84. He had to.

"Ah, Rez. I am glad you could make it anyway. I hope this wasn't too inconvenient a time for you?" He smiled warmly at her and adjusted his lab coat over his shoulders as he walked to her. He put his tattooed hands in his spacious pockets and appraised her, noting how odd it still was to see her in civilian clothing. "Please, come in. I made sure to prepare everything while I waited for you."

She shook her head slightly while entering the office of the good doctor. "Nothing out of the ordinary doctor. I was just consumed by my work at the lounge. Crazy to be there, though... At some point, you're the XO of a starship, and next, you're serving drinks out of free will. Or well, sort of." she snickered as she contemplated the idea herself. It had been rather weird to work at the lounge yet it at least managed to give her some peace of mind and a decent hold on her different personalities. Or so she thought...

"Oh, please, do not worry about it. I am still glad we could do this one more time, and then we'll see what tomorrow brings. The winds know it feels quite surreal that we'll finally reach that starbase and spread the word." Making small talk as he was, Lucan went to the metallic tray with medical instruments and powered up the primary suite that he had right there in his office. "Please, lie down on the biobed and bare your abdomen to me. How are things in Below Decks? Oh, Thea, please lock the door?"

[All doors to the office are locked, Doctor.]

"Thank you," said Lucan without looking up, the order was always given in order to preserve the Trill's modesty during the check-ups. Not looking when Rez prepared herself, he walked back to his computer console on the closest desk, opened a program, tapped in a command, and then returned to Edena. "So, how have you been feeling since your last check-up? I know that we spoke at length about what Jona did during the mutiny a while back and that you, Kiya and Illya have been making it a joint venture to keep Jona Rez from doing something like that again. How has it been going for you? Has he been giving the three of you a lot of trouble?"

While Lucan continued talking and asking questions, Edena walked over to the biobed and laid herself down on it. She kept her clothes on and just arched her back a little to pull her top clothing upwards in order to reveal her flat spotted abdomen. She shimmied her black leather pants down a little, granting Lucan the sight of her underwear edges.

"I can tell by the crew that we're getting close. More people are dropping down the lounge for drinks. You can literally feel the nervousness running among the crew." she nodded and looked over at Lucan as he stepped away from his desk.

"Things, however, seem to be better since our last appointment. Running Below Decks is rather straining, I'm exhausted more often, yet Jona has kept himself under wraps for now. My other hosts and I have had little effort to try and keep him subdued inside me. He seems withdrawn... Yet who can tell with a dark personality as his own." she spoke freely while the doctor returned to her.

"I see," said Lucan and checked the readings on the biobed, and comparing them to a PADD in his hand. "It' can't be easy, never being able to truly trust yourself. Knowing that he is there. Always." Lucan knew the feeling. "My readings say that the state of the symbiont remains the same, but there is actually... No, nevermind."

Edena nodded slowly as Lucan mentioned how hard it was to always keep Jona in the picture despite his dormant state for now. It was a hard thing to handle. The pressure of always being on alert in case the former host would resurface to try and implement one of his ideas by taking over her body. Earlier, Kiya had a talk with Ives, and she herself informed Edena about this conversation. Although nothing specifically happened, both of them could agree that her decision to step down as XO had left its marks on her relation with Ives. Normally, Kiya and Ives would have more fluent and easier conversations than that day. It wasn't because they got interrupted by the crew members, but there seemed to be a sort of tension in the air between them.

Edena sighed softly before Lucan said his reading were somewhat normal before he stopped "What is it, Doctor? What's off?" she asked as she could tell by the look on his face that something was off. Her eyes looking over the Câroon doctor as her heart rate picked up a little.

Lucan took a deep breath, looking up from his PADD. "Well, given the state of your joining, I dedicated a lot of time to make sure I could aid you if anything happened to the symbiont. Trill physiology is fascinating, and the medical database has been expanded upon with the years that Trill has served in the fleet. I came upon the practice of the Zhian'tara. Have any of your hosts undergone this 'ritual of closure,' as you call it?"

"Zhian'tara?" she exclaimed with a sigh, and she nodded "Yes, it has been tried before, but the faulty joining has made it somewhat... problematic." she said before continuing "The way the joining works now, it is as if I'm in a constant state of Zhian'tara. Just without the guardians and the other hosts conversing with me whenever they can or are allowed to. Sometimes, in the past, there have been situations where the hosts just popped up out of nowhere." she mentioned before shaking her head "Why bring this up now Lucan?"

"My thought exactly," said Lucan with a smile, but then he frowned, "Well, since the medical explanation for this is quite chemical, unique as it might be to your species, it's actually not that difficult to detect just what happens when the memory engrams of the former hosts are biologically transferred to the temporary recipients - the ones aiding in the ritual of closure. Once I could identify that practice, I knew what to look for, and the data from our previous sessions showed me how the memory engrams of the former hosts are transmitted within your body - possessing it if you will. So, in short, I have determined how your former hosts come to control your body. The readings are quite similar."

Edena looked with some shock in her face at Lucan as he broke this news to her. "What? How?" she asked confused as it made some sense to her, yet wondered what the official Trill commission would think of it to have such research done to her. "So let me get this straight, you can... Detect... When my hosts take over my body? And you also found out how they do it? How does this help with Jona? Cause last time I checked he's been laying low for quite a while." she mentioned, unaware that the former Starfleet intelligence officer was listening along with the rest of her hosts to this conversation.

"Well, since I have identified the biological change in your body and what the joining does at that point, there is actually quite a simple way to temporary subduing Jona Rez's presence inside you, keeping him from being able to take over your body and allowing for the other hosts to remain unaffected by it." Lucan put away the PADD and gently laid his warm fingertips against Edena's abdomen, feeling the area around the symbiont's position, "The procedure would entail a shot from a hypospray and with Jona subdued, you would have twenty-four hours of rest for you, Kiya and Illya where you need not be vigilant. In fact, I think you would be able to return to active duty again, the threat of Jona gone. We just have to try it a few times, and Captain Ives would need to approve your reinstatement as a Starfleet Officer, should you so wish.

The news of this was mind-shattering for Edena as Lucan proposed this offer. She was baffled as her eyes widened a little, this news sounding far too good to be true. "Active re-reinstatement?" she mumbled softly as she closed her eyes and felt Lucan's fingers against her silky skin. Thankfully his hands felt warm and didn't make her jump "Is there any side effect of that shot? Anything that would harm the symbiont or my other hosts?" she asked carefully, not wanting to jump the gun or risk any damage done to her personality in the end. "Will Jona feel anything by it?" she asked curiously as she looked back in Nicander's eyes.

Lucan removed his fingers from Edena and put his hands in his pockets. "What you need to do for me is to let Jona take over," he said, gravely, "since otherwise, the treatment would not affect him, instead subduing you and leaving Kiya and Illya to keep the reins away from Jona. My idea, however, is that we activate the restraints on the biobed before surrendering control to him. That way, you can rest assured that he can't attack me before I inoculate your body, preventing him from using this office in some way. Should the treatment fail, as unlikely as I find it, the result is the same. He can't get anywhere. So... what do you say?"

He stood there with his hands in his pockets, looking at her, but behind his friendly yet professional mien, he grinned. He knew he had her.

With a light cold feeling gnawing at the back of her mind, Edena saw her chance to finally get rid of the former host that has caused so much damage already. This was like a dream come true, and Lucan certainly seemed to have calculated all the things that could go wrong with it. "Well, I guess this will be a good shot... If Jona wants to play at least... Just subdue me should the treatment fail. I don't want to risk anyone in case anything goes wrong, despite the best of your restraints for him. I wish you the best of luck doctor." she said before she waited for the procedure to commence before drawing Jona out.

After the quick tap on the controls that activated the forcefield restraints around Rez' legs and arms, Lucan's pale grey eyes shifted to the readings on the biobed, where he had calibrated the biological sensors to detect the shift between the hosts. He saw the shift in colours on the screen, and then looked back into Edena's eyes. Yet it was no longer her that looked back at him, but Jona. Lucan smiled faintly to him. "Greetings," he said and stepped up to the Trill, and he already had the hypospray in his tattooed hand when it appeared from his pocket...

...and then it was on the female body's neck - the sharp hiss heard from the cold muzzle. And just like that, Lucan had cast the die.

The lights of the room had been easy to adjust to for Jona before he looked at Lucan's eyes. The fact was that before he could say anything to him, the hypospray was administered to the female. A soft hiss and a swallowed curse was what left the lips of the Trill woman before Jona once again opened his eyes. Feeling no restraints of the other to regain control once more. He frowned as he looked at Lucan.

"Doctor... What a lovely evening to have me tied to a biobed?" he asked him, the words leaving her mouth far more dirty than intended. Jona looked at Nicander, wondering why he was brought out and why the other hosts didn't do anything about it.

"So, what's the point of this?" he asked once more.

"It depends entirely on what you will answer to my questions," said Lucan quietly with a deep frown. He walked back to the desk and got the chair, pulling it up next to the primary biobed. He sat down, and remained silent at first, feigning to look weary. Conflicted. It was just for show, lending authenticity to his act.

Following the good doctor with his eyes, Jona tried to sit up more straight or tried to move freely as he realized the restraints kept him in place quite effectively. "What questions exactly would that be?" he asked him as the man returned to him. The feigned look of weariness was amusing for Jona to see, wondering what the true agenda was of the man.

In reply, Lucan produced a vial from his lab coat and slowly changed the cartridge in his hypospray. "I will inoculate you with a truth serum from Aldea, one I am reasonably certain you are not immune to despite your background, and then I will know if I am right about you. I would like to believe I know what you're about to say, but given present circumstances, I must be certain."

Without ceremony, Lucan reached out and gave Jona the second shot.

He was about to object to getting another shot but then Lucan administered it anyway. "Fuck sake! If you're just gonna knock me full of shots I'll gladly leave once more!" he hissed at Lucan before the drug took effect, despite Jona's efforts to subdue it. "So why are you going through all this trouble?" he asked with a coarse voice as he closed his eyes.
 
"That's just it, Jona Rez. You can't leave. You cannot return to the shadows of Edena Rez' mind," said Lucan, forehead creased as he pinched the bridge of his nose, "I have locked away Edena, Kiya, and Illya, giving you unhampered possession of Edena's body for twenty-four hours. The only question remaining is whether or not I will release you from those restraints, and let you leave this office before those hours have passed."
 
Jon remained silent for a few seconds as if he tried to see if the other hosts could actually take over. It seemed Nicander was right and the situation brought more questions to the Starfleet officer. "So it would seem... Why do this doctor? A risky move to make, aiding what's deemed a defector by most of your crew mates." he said before narrowing his eyes "Unless you have something you want me to do..." he concluded.
 
Lucan did not answer. "My first question is simple. Why did you betray this crew, meaning to leave the Theurgy aboard the Allegiant together with Declan Vasser? What did you hope to achieve in doing that?" The question was as open as it was portentous, yet Lucan thought he knew the answer, and at that rate, perhaps Jona guessed that he did too.
 
Why did he betray the crew? "See, that's where you already go wrong, Doctor..." he murmured "I'm not betraying the crew as to fulfilling the mission we're all committed to." He paused before sighing. "Vasser was a way out, a chance to inform Starfleet Intelligence about the ongoing coup. People who could actually make a difference, people I know that can be trusted." he continued.
 
Looking back at Lucan he sighed. "This situation we're in doctor... It's far more complex than most people would see it. Our so called captain wants to be a whistleblower, inform the entire galaxy about the treachery and take over." He shook his head "But even the smallest child with brains could see where the flaw in that plan lies," he whispered, gesturing Lucan to come closer "What do you think will happen if we do manage to get our word out to the public? Think of the ramifications, doctor..."
 
Indulging the Trill, Lucan leaned a little closer, but his mien remained just as stoic as it was weary. "There is no need to whisper, Commander. I have taken precautions so that Thea can't overhear you," he said, a cursory reassurance, then he sat up straight again, the hypospray still in his tattooed hands. "Please, in your expertise, what would happen if the word about the alien usurpers reached the public? How bad will it be?"
 
"Come on, doctor..." He smiled as he shook his head. The re-assurance only serving as to what measures the doctor took for this. "Commander, I've not been called that in a while," he smiled before he concentrated on the matter at hand. "Sure, we'd have succeeded in our mission, the world and the rest of the universe will know of the alien usurpers. We'd have completed in the possible demise of Starfleet as a whole. Imagine the word reaching Romulans... Or any other adversary of Starfleet. While we have an internal power struggle between those believing to upkeep Starfleet in its former glory against the usurpers and their plans, we could face an invasion from outside our neutral zones."
 
"Regardless, the power struggle within Starfleet could lead to even greater turmoil. We could face Civil war across the entire Federation-controlled territories. The loss of lives with those two factors alone would lead to the death of millions if not more. The alternative, however... Have the usurpers dealt with by subtle actions, behind the screens away from the public. Obscuring the true battle from the public, thus saving lives..." he concluded before he looked at his restraints. "Surely, doctor, these binding devices aren't needed. I can see that you're open for logical theories, such as these. It would be unwise of me to harm anyone who thinks the way I do. You're not a mindless drone that would do and obey every bidding Ives commands, are you?"
 
Lucan did not reply at first where he sat, as unmoving as a statue - pale grey eyes looking into Jona's even though they belonged to Edena Rez. "I am not certain when I came to doubt the mission and the Captain," he said quietly but made no move to release Jona from his restraints just yet. "I think, however, that the deciding moment was when he ordered me to keep Sarresh Morali alive at any cost, despite the hopeless condition the Ash'reem was in when he came here. Unless I had found a way to use the Asurian Velsren sac and made him human, Ives had been perfectly content to have him breathing through machines, just so that he could foresee the next temporal breach."
 
Standing up, Lucan raked a tattooed hand through his dark hair. "It showed me beyond any doubt that Ives had forgotten the bigger picture. By the winds, he means to tear down the Federation as long as he can vindicate his own name and this crew, willing to let everything burn as long as he has justice done for us. And the crew loves him for it, their plight making them blind to what is truly at stake. As much as I love this crew, and the people close to me... I am not only a doctor but a Starfleet officer."
 
Raising his hand, he tapped the command that released Jona from his restraints. What Lucan said next, he said it with cutting clarity - eyes resting on the Trill’s. "I won't put millions of civilians at risk - or even potentially at risk - to save myself. It is expected of us all that we might lose the battle, even our lives, to uphold and safeguard the member worlds of the Federation." He powered down the biobed. "If Ives can't make that choice, then he can't wear that uniform."
 
Jona sat up as the biobed was powered down. He kept his eyes trained on Nicander as he pulled the sleeveless shirt back down to cover up the body of Edena. Cracking his neck before closing his eyes, he let the words of Nicander seep in, thinking he has found an ally. Someone who was on the same note as he is. Someone who knew what needs to be done.
 
"I'm glad we can see eye to eye, doctor, but what are you expecting me to do about our current predicament? We're en route to Starbase 84 and most of my privileges as an XO are scratched," he said, a faint smile moving over the lips of the Trill before he jumped off the bed and walked over to Lucan.
 
Lucan smiled, a bitter chuckle escaping him. "Like I said, I am a doctor, not a spy. One thing I know for certain is that the simulcast can't be sent tomorrow. I wouldn't presume too much in hoping you could do something about that, would I?"
 
"Well, you're right in that regard. I am a former spy so to speak... I don't think the simulcast needs to be stopped, maybe adjusted a little bit. Anyway, I think I have an idea on how to do so, but I won't bore you with the how and what," he chuckled before he looked Nicander straight in the eyes. "To be fair, though, doctor, I didn't expect a move like this from you. Not in the past at least... I wonder if there are more people who would share your thoughts aboard the ship?" With a slow shake of the head, Jona ruffled through Edena's hair for a second before looking away from Nicander "Either way, consider it done."
 
"Then I think we have an accord," said Lucan and inclined his head, "I have known that our days have been numbered and that the mission to Starbase 84 might mean the end of this ship regardless what is done about the message... but if the lives of this crew can be spared somehow, along with preventing a new galactic war... we would truly have upheld the tenets of the Federation. I will be busy with patients, but I hope you will be able to convince Captain Ives to surrender before it is too late."
 
"I highly doubt Ives will surrender. He's not very known to be open for reason, not when he's committed to a cause." Jona paused for a second as he turned halfway to Nicander. "But I'll do my best to keep the crew as safe as I can. There will be consequences though for the crew in a whole. I'll do what I can, dear doctor, I'm not a miracle worker." He smiled faintly before he made Edena's body step out - leaving Nicander behind.
 
Turning away from the door, Lucan took a deep breath. There will indeed be consequences... for all of you.

Knowing this, he looked in the direction of the Surgical Suites, behind the bulkhead of his office. It was still there. Waiting.

Regardless what happens this cycle... the next must begin.

- FIN

 
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